The Trialogical Learning Approach to innovate teaching

Main Article Content

Nadia Sansone
Donatella Cesareni
Maria Beatrice Ligorio


This article focuses on a case of implementing the Trialogical Learning Approach (TLA) in two classes in the first year of a university school for future osteopaths (N = 36). The approach involves the creation of useful and tangible objects through alternation between individual and group activities, supported by digital technologies. The aim of the study is to observe the impact of TLA on the quality of learning products made by students and on teaching style, as well as to collect students’ views on activities. The collected data (individual and group products, notes inserted online, audio recordings of lessons, final questionnaires) have been analyzed using a mixed qualitative and quantitative approach. The results show: a) positive evolution in the quality of individual and group products; b) progression from a transmissive teaching style towards one more oriented to collaboration and knowledge building; c) general appreciation of the innovative method and its potential for fostering social skills useful for future employment.

Article Details

Articles - General topics


Aronson, E., & Patnoe, S. (1997). The jigsaw classroom: Building cooperation in the classroom (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Longman.

Barbier, R. (2007). La ricerca – azione. Roma, Italia: Armando.

Bereiter, C. (2002). Education and Mind in the Knowledge Age. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Bruner, J.S. (1991). La costruzione narrativa della “realtà”. In M. Ammaniti & D.N. Stern (Eds.), Rappresentazioni e narrazioni (pp. 17- 38). Bari, Italia: Laterza. Design-Based Research Collective (2003).

Design based research: An emerging paradigm for educational inquiry. Educational Researcher, 32(1), 5-8. Retrieved from http:// DBRC2003.pdf

Dochy, F., & McDowell, L. (1997). Assessment as a tool for learning. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 23(4), 279-298.

Guba, E. G., & Lincoln, Y. S. (1994). Competing paradigms in qualitative research. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (pp. 105-117). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Hakkarainen, K., Lipponen, L. & Järvelä, S. (2002). Epistemology of inquiry and computer- supported collaborative learning. In T. Koschmann, N. Miyake, & R. Hall (Eds.),CSCL2: Carrying Forward the Conversation (pp. 129-156). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Ilomäki, L. (2015). Promoting knowledge work practices in upper secondary schools: case studies in Finland and Bulgaria. XVI EARLI Conference “Towards a Reflective Society: Synergies between Learning, Teaching and Research”, Limassol, Cyprus, 25-29 Agosto, 2015. Retrieved from conferences/EARLI_Biennial_Conferences/ previous_Biennial_conferences/earli_2015

Ilomäki, L., Paavola, S., Lakkala, M., & Kantosalo, A. (2016). Digital competence – an emergent boundary concept for policy and educational research? Education and Information Technologies 21(3), 655–679. doi:10.1007/s10639-014-9346-4

Lewin, K. (1980). I conflitti sociali. Milano, Italia: Franco Angeli.

Ligorio, M.B., & Sansone, N. (2016). Manuale di didattica blended. Il modello della Partecipazione Collaborativa e Costruttiva (PCC). Milano, Italia: Franco Angeli.

Lombard, R., & Biglan, B. (2009). Implications of Role Play and Team Teaching as strategies for information technology pedagogy. Information Systems Education Journal, 7(20). Retrieved from

Mills-Dick, K. & Hull, J. M. (2011) Collaborative research: Empowering students and connecting to community. Journal of Public Health Management & Practice, 17(4), 381-387.

Niglas, K. (2004). The Combined Use of Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Educational Research. Tallinn: Tallinn Pedagogical University Press.

Paavola, S., Lipponen, L., & Hakkarainen, K. (2004). Models of innovative knowledge communities and three metaphors of learning. Review of Educational Research, 74(4), 557-576.

Paavola, S., & Hakkarainen, K. (2005). The Knowledge Creation Metaphor – An Emergent Epistemological Approach to Learning. Science & Education, 14(6), 535-557.

Pozzi, F (2010). Using Jigsaw and Case Study for supporting online collaborative learning. Computers & Education, 55, 67-75.

Pozzi, F. (2011). The impact of scripted roles on online collaborative learning processes. Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 6, 471-484.

Sambell, K., McDowell, L., & Brown, S. (1997). “But is it fair?”: an exploratory study of student perceptions of the consequential validity of assessment. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 23(4), 349-371.

Sansone, N. (2016). Reflections on Pedagogical Cases and TLA. KNORK Final Conference, University Sapienza of Rome, January 12th 2016.

Sansone, N., & Ligorio, M.B. (2015). A protocol for multi-dimensional assessment in university online courses. REM Research in Education and Media, 7(1). Retrieved from https://www. protocol_for_multidimensional_assessment_ in_university_online_courses

Scardamalia, M., & Bereiter, C. (1994). Computer Support for Knowledge-Building Communities. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 3(3), 256-283.

Sfard, A. (1998). On two metaphors for learning and the dangers of choosing just one. Educational Researcher, 27(2), 4-13.

Strijbos, J.W. & Weinberger, A. (2010). Emerging and scripted roles in computer-supported collaborative learning. Computers in Human Behavior 26 (4), 491-494.

Weinberger, A. (2008). CSCL scripts: Effects of social and epistemic scripts on computer supported collaborative learning. Berlin, Germany: VDM.

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: learning, meaning and identity. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.